DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I can't see very well, so I can smell better than most people. My wife doesn't believe this and has made fun of me, calling me Sniffer, because I can always smell when something is off in the fridge or the cat box has an odour, and she thinks I'm just being critical of her housekeeping. Last night I woke up at 3 a.m. and smelled a whiff of smoke. I followed my sniffer into the rec room in the basement where my wife had left a candle burning; it had cracked the plate underneath it and was starting to burn the wooden table. I yelled and we quickly got the fire out. Why did it take that for her to have faith in my enhanced ability to smell things? She is amazed about this and on the phone yapping to friends. I can smell better than she or most people can. I can also hear better because my sense of sight is compromised. She has been stubbornly opposed to accepting that, even after this, and she just told me she still wonders if it was a fluke. This is so frustrating. Help! -- Sniffer, St. Boniface
Dear Sniffer: People are often loath to believe from family members what they will finally accept from an expert outside. So, trot out the scientific research and put it under her nose to read. Let her see what she doesn't believe from you. She probably doesn't like to think you have powers she doesn't. But when she reads what the body does to compensate for loss of sight in terms of heightened senses and being more alert to sensory input other than sight, she will have to finally accept that you have a sense of smell that, in this case, may have saved your lives.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: My girlfriend and I had a horrendous fight and broke up. She threw plants at me that spilled dirt and leaves out all over the floor and on the off-white rug. I grabbed my clothes and ran to the car and drove to my parents'. I can't live there with her any more, though I still love her. She is a woman with a dangerous temper, especially when she has been drinking. She came home from the bar stinko and she was spoiling for a fight from the minute she got in. She finally got one because I am fed up to here. Now, on the phone crying and begging, she says she will go to Alcoholics Anonynous or "anything I want," but please not to leave her. Am I mean not to give her a second chance? -- Staying Away, River Heights
Dear Staying: Stay where you are. She says she'll do anything you want. That doesn't bode well for dumping an addiction. The best you can do is tell her you'll see how she does with the addiction recovery on her own and it she's still clean in a few months you'll revisit the problem if both of you want to. The violence is another aspect she needs to attend to, if she wants to have a relationship with you. Insist on anger-management counselling and/or group support group as well. You are in a position of power right now. Make these demands and stay with your folks for now. Wait until your emotions settle and have a longer talk with her. If she goes on her own for evaluation of her drinking at the Addictions Foundation, and starts going to Alcoholics Anonymous and getting anger-management help, you might find you like her as well and love her again. On the other hand, your feelings may just fizzle after the big drama you have experienced. Be true to yourself and don't go back because you feel sorry for her. Pity is not love, so don't confuse the two.
Questions or comments? Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or send letters c/o Miss Lonelyhearts, 1355 Mountain Ave. Winnipeg R2X 3B6